Social Studies Department Goals and Objectives
The overall goals for the social studies department are based on the standards established by the NCHS and are task- or skill-oriented. The NCHS also has the following standards for curricular content which we have adopted in our scope and sequence.
“Social Studies and History are in their essence a process of reasoning based on evidence from the past. This reasoning must be grounded in the careful gathering, weighing and sifting of factual information such as names, dates, places, ideas, and events. However the process does not end there. Real historical understanding requires students to think about cause-and-effect relationships, to reach sound historical interpretations, and to conduct historical inquiries and research leading to the knowledge on which informed decisions in contemporary life can be based. These thinking skills are the process of active learning.”
1. Students must develop a clear sense of historical time – past, present and future – and develop skills in chronological thinking. In order to do this, they will:
- Learn to interpret and create timelines.
- Learn to measure calendar time.
- Learn to identify and explain patterns of historical succession, duration, continuity, and change.
2. Students must develop skills in comprehension. This includes the ability to read and understand narratives and content-based textbooks as they apply to social studies content. In order to do this, they will:
- Learn to identify the basic elements of narrative structure (characters, situation, sequence of events, the cause and effect of various events).
- Learn to describe the past through the eyes and experiences of those who were there as revealed through their literature, art, and artifacts.
- Learn to avoid “present mindedness” – judging the past solely in terms of the norms of today.
3. Students must develop skills in analysis and interpretation. In order to do this, they will:
- Learn to compare and contrast different experiences, beliefs, motives, traditions, and hopes from people of various groups and backgrounds, and from various times.
- Learn to analyze how differing motives, interests, and beliefs influenced people’s behaviors.
- Learn to consider multiple perspectives in the records of human experience.
- Learn to look for multiple causes in analysis of historical events.
- Learn to challenge arguments of historical inevitability, and to compare and evaluate historical explanations of the past.
- Learn to use not only the literature of the past, and textual readings, but a variety of primary sources to gather in formation.
4. Students must acquire the skills for research. In order to do this, they will:
- Learn to formulate a question or thesis through their encounters with classroom material, such as documents, artifacts, maps, photos, art, visits to historical sites, and eyewitness accounts (primary sources).
- Learn to determine historical time and context of their research sources.
- Learn to judge the credibility of authors and materials.
- Learn to construct a sound narrative or argument in order to present their research findings.
5. Students must acquire the skills of issues-analysis and decision making. In order to do this, they will:
- Learn to identify the problems that people have confronted in the past, analyze the various interests and points of view, and evaluate alternative proposals for dealing with the problems.
- Analyze and determine if the solutions developed by the past were sound and why.
- Try to bring historical perspective to bear on informed decision-making in the present.
6. Students must learn to use the tools of the Social Scientist. In order to do this, they will:
- Use such tools as maps, globes, primary source documents, timelines, etc.
- Use modern technology such as the internet (specifically databases for primary sources, maps, museum and other scholarly web sites).
Evaluate the contributions of people– famous, infamous, or anonymous–in history:
- Write insightful and comprehensive essays on historical topics.
- Understand and relate past events to current ones.
- Evaluate events in their historical context.
- Evaluate the contributions of people, famous, infamous, or anonymous, in history.
- Interpret and draw conclusions from specific and particular facts.
- Actively participate in classroom lecture, discussion, group activities, and oral presentations.
- Read the text and other materials, with the ability to recognize key people, events, and situations as they relate to the study of history.
- Compare and contrast different events, beliefs, and peoples of the past.
- Read and analyze primary source documents and materials.
- Use primary source documents along with her knowledge of history to interpret trends, events, or turning points in World history.
- Research information using current sources available through the library and Internet.
- Take responsibility for her own learning by keeping current with her reading, notes, and assignments.
- Understand the importance of Historiography, and be able to read and understand current works in the history and social science field.
- Understand and interpret the events occurring on a global basis today and how those events shape and affect their lives.